Dozens of Bragg soldiers home in time for holidays
Posted November 30, 2011
Updated December 1, 2011
Fort Bragg, N.C. — There's no place like home for the holidays, especially for soldiers who have spent the past year in Iraq.
About 60 Fort Bragg soldiers returned to North Carolina Wednesday night, while all troops prepare to come home by the end of the year.
For Jessica Hall, the waiting has been hard. So much has changed since her husband, First Lt. Christian Hall, deployed with the Headquarters 20th Engineer Brigade to Iraq in January.
"The first two weeks felt like a month. They went by very, very slowly," she said.
But weeks turned to months, and in April, while her high school sweetheart and husband was home on leave, Jessica Hall gave birth to the couple's first child – a daughter.
After a week together, the new parents had to separate again as Christian Hall returned to Iraq.
On Wednesday, mother and daughter anxiously waited to welcome their hero home.
"I'm not really nervous, but I have the butterflies going and everything. It's very exciting. We miss him a lot," Jessica Hall said about 30 minutes before she was able to run into her husband's arms for the first time in six months.
When the soldiers finally marched in to see their eagerly waiting families, the room exploded in a frenzy of hugs, kisses and tears.
The emotions were still sinking in for Christian Hall as he held his daughter once again.
"I really didn't feel like I was coming home until we were on the place, coming down, and I was like, 'Wow, it's here already,'" he said.
"It was overwhelming," Jessica Hall said. "I was crying, of course."
Christian Hall's brigade will be home with their families for at least 12 months before they'll be eligible for deployment again.